Biochar in my sand? Yes, we are doing that!

I was inspired by some youtube surfing the other day to get busy and try making some biochar. I used the DTG method of digging a pit and burning the wood laying around the property. The pit is in a new 10×4 section next to the blueberries, but with some separation. I don’t think the ashes left behind will affect the blueberries PH, the proximity is not close enough.

After the big burn, I put the charcoal in a wheel barrow where I topped it with all of the grass that I had just torn out. Biochar needs to be “activated” before becoming and effective nutrient battery for your plants. To activate it, we soaked the charcoal and weed mix to form a batch of “Dave’s fetid swamp water”. The charcoal absorbed it for a week, I hope it is enough to become somewhat effective in the new bed. After the heavy rains today, I furrowed a section of the new bed in the center and dumped that nasty foul smelling water with the charcoal into the ground and raked it over. It might become my watermelon patch tomorrow. I have 4 starts, and a 10×4 sounds like a good area for 4 melon plants.

New bed cleared and filled with biochar and swamp water

I also did a few other things in between the rain. Found out that the potatoes popped up. I also threw in a few more rotting red potatoes in the row just to fill it out.

Potatoes popped up this week. I clearly had some weeding to do as well.

The 3rd generation of our pretend homestead black eyed peas is in the lettuce bed to help regenerate the nitrogen loss. I did not yet pull the couple of rashes that are left in the bed in hopes of getting some seed out of the radishes.

Since my yellow wax beans are doing well, I planted another 8 row feet in the “shed bed”. This harvest will be about 3 weeks behind the first one. I am trying to stagger some of the plantings to make more consistent harvests.

About half of the tomatoes are now in ground. I still have green zebras and brandywines waiting to be planted, but don’t have a spot for them yet. I’ll likely interplant basil with the tomatoes to get a harvest from some “small structure” plants like I did with the blueberries last year. Oh, I also placed an order for some everglades tomatoes. Those are the ones I truly hope to have abundance with.

2 of the Seminole pumpkins have germinated. I was thinking of growing these into my fence just to see if they survive weaving in and out of the chicken wire. I have long way to go in the season with pumpkins, so I can start another set if this group fails.

None of the peppers germinated. I think we got into weather where the nights are just too cool. I’ll probably set some up under a grow light in the garage.

My Florida grown raspberry plant is starting to ripen. Can’t wait.

Raspberries are ripening. Maybe the berries will make it after all.

I picked up a purple sweet potato for a grocery store garden bonus. I’ll start working on getting slips going as soon as I can. Does anybody know where I can identify sweet potato varieties?

Lastly, I did some off the cuff math. It appears that the chickens have paid off about half of their coup through their egg production over the last year. Keep up the good work ladies. Mrs. SNH found out that some organic eggs in California are selling for $11/dozen. That hasn’t hit us here in Florida, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to $7 or $8 / dozen soon. Food not lawns people, it’s the smarter way!

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